Complex Made Simple

HMC opens dedicated supportive and palliative care unit at the National Center for Cancer Care and Research

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has announced the opening of their new 10-bed supportive and palliativecare unit (SPCU) at the National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR).

Hanan Al Kuwari PhD, HMC’s Managing Director, who officially opened the unit, explained that this was a very important milestone in the journey of transformation for cancer services.

“At HMC, we are on a journey of continuous improvement. Our aim is to provide the safest, most effective and most compassionate care to each and every one of our patients, at every stage of their life. We know that cancer is a very difficult diagnosis for our patients and we are there to support them on every step of their cancer journey.One of the recommendations of the National Cancer Strategy was the refurbishment of a ward area to provide cancer patients with an environment which would help them cope with the symptoms and pain of an incurable disease.” said Dr. Al Kuwari.

“The new supportive and palliative care unit at the National Center for Cancer Care and Research is somewhere that patients,who need support with symptom control in the late stages of their illness, can receive the care they need in privacy and with dignity. The unit aims to ensure the best possible quality of life, supporting patients and their families in a dedicated, specialized environment. I am thankful to all those who have contributed their time and effort to develop this service and am delighted to be able to declare it officially open,” she added.

Professor Alexander Knuth, Medical Director for the NCCCR, explained that a large multi-disciplinary team was involved in the development of the unit as well as significant support from community groups.

“The unit has 10 single en-suite rooms, and the aim is that they feel like a comfortable ‘home-away-from-home’ for our patients. As such, each of the rooms has been decorated to feel a little less like a hospital. Ladies from the American Women’s Association have donated their time and effort to add some finishing touches to the rooms,” he said.

“This includes stenciling on the walls and making beautiful cushions and throws to put on the furniture. In addition, we have been donated some fantastic artwork from Gallery One studio, on The Pearl Qatar, to make the unit feel warm and welcoming. Most importantly, the unit is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and a dedicated team of specialists who will provide excellent clinical support around the clock to the patients who need it most” Prof. Knuth added.

Palliative care takes a holistic approach and looks at the whole person, whether their needs are physical, emotional, spiritual or social. In addition to the 10 private patient rooms, the unit has an activity room and a multi-disciplinary team to look after patients, including specialist doctors and clinical nurse specialists as well as other healthcare professionals, such as dieticians and clinical psychologists. The unit has been designed with palliative care in mind and is therefore a tranquil environment, conducive to providing end of life care.

Since the launch of the National Cancer Strategy in 2011, HMC has implemented many service enhancements which have directly improved the care delivered to cancer patients. These include increasing the number of dedicated multi-disciplinary teams, successfully meeting the two-day target time for urgent cancer referrals to be seen by a specialist, and increasing the number of specialist cancer clinics.

HMC has also recently launched a new program at the NCCCR – “Putting Patients First” – an initiative for gauging patient experience which will ensure patients always remain at the center of healthcare delivery at the hospital.

As part of this initiative, an interactive patient experience app was also launched. This application aims to measure the quality of the patient experience in the hospital in real time, which will enable action to be taken quickly from the results received.

In its work treating one of the world’s fastest-growing populations, HMC is constantly looking at new ways of improving or expandingthe facilities, services and models of care it offers to patients.